Book Review: The Lives of Frederick Douglass by Robert S. Levine

The State of the Discipline Series: Part II

The Lives of Frederick Douglass is a fascinating collage of images that recreate various facets of the life of Frederick Douglass. Robert Levine demonstrates insight in delving into the complexity of racialised identities and the changing contours of self-definition in a collection that spans the most popular of Douglass’s writings, The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself (1845), as well as his lesser known My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) and The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881), along with letters, articles, and speeches. Continue reading

Literature, Education and the Sciences of the Mind in Britain and America, 1850 – 1950

Review: Literature, Education and the Sciences of the Mind in Britain and America, 1850 – 1950, University of Kent, 17-18 July 2018 Dr Sara Lyons and Dr Michael Collins welcomed international contributors to the University of Kent to investigate how British and American novelists understood and represented the sciences of … Continue reading

‘Unbelievable Originality’: Lining Tracks and Performativity in Zora Neale Hurston’s Folk Concerts

It is nearly a century since Zora Neale Hurston wrote Barracoon, an ethnography of Cudjo Lewis, the Alabama man believed to be the last living African enslaved in the United States. On May 8 Lewis’ story became widely available to the public for the first time. To mark this historic occasion, and to commemorate the life and works of Zora Neale Hurston – a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance, African-American folklorist and ethnographer, and one of the most significant women writers of the twentieth century – USSO has commissioned a series of articles on any aspect of Hurston’s life, her art, her anthropology. This article is the first in the series. Continue reading

Conference Review: Recovering May Alcott Nieriker’s Life and Work, Université Paris Diderot

This special guest review comes to us from Amelia Platt, a fifteen-year-old student from Litcham Comprehensive High School and a participant in the Brilliant Club, a charity that employs PhD students to tutor pupils from low-participation backgrounds. Amelia would like to thank her mentor, Azelina Flint, a doctoral candidate and AHRC CHASE Award Holder at the School of American Studies, University of East Anglia. Continue reading

Book review: Preparing for War: The Emergence of the Modern U.S. Army, 1815-1917, by J.P. Clark

J.P. Clark combines his military experience and meticulous research in Preparing for War: The Emergence of the Modern U.S Army. The book is an insightful combination of military, political, and social history, and describes the evolution of Army officers’ formal education between 1815-1917 in an attempt to contextualise the shift from nineteenth to twentieth century understandings of military proficiency. Continue reading

Review: BGEAH and BrANCH Postgraduate and Early Career Conference 2018

Institute of Historical Research

Overall, the conference demonstrated the value of bringing together members of BGEAH and BrANCH. Concerns about postdoctoral funding and the job market were shared by all, and the range of research discussed highlighted the growing shift away from periodisation within the study of American History. The day provided an opportunity not only for PGRS and ECRs to meet members of another organisation with similar interests, but also to draw on their expertise to enhance their own research. Continue reading

Book Review: Irish Nationalists in America by David Brundage

David Brundage, Irish Nationalists in America: The Politics of Exile, 1798-1998 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). pp.312. $36.95. £26.49. Irish Nationalists in America provides a thorough survey of centuries of Irish nationalist politics, distinctions in the Irish diaspora, and transnational cooperation. It is a valuable contribution to scholarship on the … Continue reading

Review: ‘The “Not Yet” of the Nineteenth-Century U.S.’, BrANCA Symposium

University of Exeter

Primarily literary in focus, the panellists nevertheless marshalled current political and institutional debates through and alongside their readings of texts, demonstrating the ways in which nineteenth-century U.S. scholarship often hinges on interdisciplinary methodologies. Continue reading

Review: ‘The “Not Yet” of the Nineteenth-Century U.S.’, British Association of Nineteenth Century Americanists Symposium

University of Exeter

Alert to forms of belatedness and anachronism, and attuned to the variously apocalyptic and utopian temporalities of the era, this timely conference on untimeliness suggested that the future is bright for BrANCA and for the field. Continue reading

Book Review: The Saltwater Frontier by Andrew Lipman

The State of the Discipline Series: Part I

Most historical accounts of the colonisation of New England focus on  territorial claims made on certain swathes of land between the Hudson River and Cape Cod. Not so Andrew Lipman. Unequivocal in his rejection of ‘surf and turf’ histories, in The Saltwater Frontier Lipman argues that by focusing on the ocean itself as a paradigm of shifting territories, his book offers ‘a new way of thinking about Indian history and a new way of understanding this all-too-familiar region’. Continue reading